Monthly Archives: March 2015

Easter Våpenhuskonsert

Today we a staging a Våpenhuskonsert (a concert in the weapon room / foyer) at Finnsnes church, as part of our Easter Festival Week (Påskefestuka).

Vapenhuskonsert 04b copy 1000

As with previous concerts, it is a blend of music and poetry.

Vapenhuskonsert aktorer 2015 copyLocal teacher, Heidi Tove Olsen, has selected poems which she will read.

The musicians are Ernst Norbakken (a classical tenor), Odd Fredriksen (a talented singer, guitarist and song-writer), Sveinung Borvik (singer and guitarist who grew up in Finnsnes, now living in Trondheim), Benjamin Olsvik Nillsen (percussion), Sarah (voice, piano and harpsichord), and me (recorder, piano, harmonium).

We’ve still to decide the running order, but the music list is:

Ernst Norbakken

  • Akk, mon min vei
  • Jeg så han som barn
  • Eit litt barn voks opp til mann


Odd Fredriksen

  • Du som låg i natti seine
  • Stefanus
  • Blott en dag


Sarah Blamire

  • Wilt thou forgive
  • Majestet
  • Jeg har en venn som har gitt sitt liv
  • Kven er eg
  • Har du fyr


Sveinung Borvik

  • Johnny Cash – Hurt
  • Coldplay – The Scientist

Instrumental musikk

  • Grieg Våren
  • Telemann blokfløyte sonat i F dur




Påskefestuka – The Remains

It’s been a pretty hectic week so far, but so far people seem pleased with our Easter festival, Påskefestuka.

Our Ungdomskor (youth choir) sang well for the Palm Sunday family service – most even made it to rehearsal on time despite loosing an hours sleep due to the clocks going forward.

After a somewhat fraught Sunday afternoon fighting a very lethargic laptop (maybe it was missing it’s hour?), Være i Stillheten went very well, with the highlight for many being Susanna playing Gabriel’s Oboe (the music, not the instrument).

Yesterday was a very long and mixed day, beginning with 2 hour long double funeral (almost 700 mourners, so a completely full church, including over 100 Hells Angels from most European countries, plus the US and Canada). We then had a couple of hours to completely rest the building ready for our Easter children’s event, Barnaspåskefest. A slightly depleted children’s choir did an excellent job of leading the music, and over 100 people joined in a ‘wandering’ with 5 ‘stations’ telling the events of Holy Week (pictures from last year are here). After coffee and cake we set to with changing the layout of the church yet again, for the Easter Labyrinth. We finished in record time due to some excellent help from friends, but even so it was a 15 hour day!

Today has been a bit more relaxed: opening the labyrinth, a short lunch service, planning a few other services and funerals, and a Salmekveld (a hymn singing evening – almost no preparation possible, but always a challenge with spontaneous suggestions from the congregation, with over 1000 possible choices – all in Norwegian or Swedish! We rounded off the day with some practice for the Våpenhuskonsert.

The Final Count Down

We now have Susanna safely back from Space Camp (a physics trip to the Norwegian Space Centre – yes they really do have one!), which was apparently good fun, as well as educational.

And now we are in our own final count down – to Påskefestuka, which begins on Sunday. This year has turned out to be a bigger undertaking than we had expected due to a flood of funerals, extra services, etc. Final preparations consist of video editing, musical arrangements, score printing, stocking up on HMREs (homemade meals ready to eat), last minute extra publicity, oh, and some rehearsing.

Sunday kicks off with Palm Sunday family services in Gibostad Kapell and Finnsnes Kirke with music led by our Ungdomskor (youth choir). Norwegians – don’t forget that clocks go forward on Sunday!

On Sunday evening we have Være i Stillhet at 7 pm in Finnsnes kirke.



Være i Stillheten is somewhere between worship and a concert – live classical music ‘accompanied’ by pictures, video and words. Because it’s Easter week, everything contributes to the passion narrative. Here is the provisional (!) program:

  • Welcome
  • Opp Guds folk (Wachet Auf) – J.S. Bach
  • Euphonium Concertino (1. movt) – Rolf Wilhelm
  • Orgel konsert i a mol, BWV 593 – A. Vivaldi / J.S. Bach
  • Erbarme dich (Matteuspasjon, BWV 244) – J.S. Bach
  • He was despised (Messiah) –  G.F. Handel
  • Via Dolorosa – Sandi Patti
  • Thy rebuke hath broken His heart (Messiah) –  G.F. Handel
  • Behold, and see (Messiah) –  G.F. Handel
  • He was cut off out of the land of the living (Messiah) –  G.F. Handel
  • Din egen sonn (O du Guds Lam) – Twila Paris
  • But Thou dids’t not leave His soul in hell (Messiah) –  G.F. Handel
  • Deg Være Ære (Thine be the glory) – congregational hymn
  • Toccata (from Organ Symphony 5) – C.M Widor
  • Blessing (Velsignelsen)
  • Gabriel’s Oboe – Ennio Morricone
  • Coffee and cake (Kirke Kaffe i Menighetshal)

On Monday we follow up with Barnaspåskefest (our Easter festival for children). 5 scenes from the easter week are told interactively as the children (and adults) go on a tour around the building. Opening and closing music is led by our Barnakor (childrens choir) and the church band. Read more about last year’s here.




Today we almost experienced an almost complete solar eclipse. The only one Finnsnes is likely to experience in our lifetime.

Almost, because the path of the total eclipse just missed us (something to do with the spring equinox and the tilt of the earth). And almost, because it clouded over and snowed at the critical moment! However, looked at from another point of view, how many people come even close to experiencing an arctic eclipse? Not many . . .

The day dawned with  bright sunshine, but quickly deteriorated. We were however blessed with glimpses through the clouds. The picture sequence runs from about 10am (just as the eclipse was beginning) to 11.20, about 15 minutes after the maximum. The colouration in some pictures is due to the lighting gels which were the only thing I could find to shield the camera at the points when the sun was unobscured by cloud or snow.


Påskefestuka 2015 Program

Easter (påske literally means passover) is looming large. As is traditional in Finnsnes, we have arranged Påskefestuka – a week long festival beginning on Palm Sunday and running through to Easter Sunday, with concerts, cultural events and worship services.

Here is the program. It’s in Norwegian, but we’ll be writing a bit more about the individual events in English as they come nearer.

Påskefestuka 2015 - for mengihetsbladet - v1

It’s also possible to download the poster and a brochure in PDF format.

So, if you’re in the area, do join us for a exciting week!

Full Storm

At the weekend our parish leadership team were in Tromsø for another Agenda 1 meeting (Agenda 1 gives church leaders teaching plus time to listen to God and plan for the future with mission at the centre).

We had a great and productive time. We all traveled together by car. This was a view over Balsfjord: Full_Storm_01

Because we couldn’t find a vikar (substitute) organist I had to return for Sunday services. To maximise my time in Tromsø I took Huritgruten home. This is the coastal ferry / cruise ship which was great other than the travel times (leaves 1.30 am, arriving in Finssnes 4.30 am!). I’ve made the journey once before, during the midnight sun, but this time it was dark and the weather forecast was full storm! Thankfully the ship just sail serenely through it:


After colleagues had joked about the potential for falling asleep on board  and then waking up in, for example, Bergen, I was also thankful to be awake for disembarkation. And so it was that I played in Finnsnes, albeit on sleep-deprived autopilot (pronounced or-toe-pee-lot in Norwegian).

And what was this?


Here is a video of eider ducks I recorded on my recent trip on the outer coast of Senja. I was attracted by the ducks swimming in a rotation circle formation which I’ve never seen before, and then diving together, and surfacing almost in perfect formation.

Apparently they like eating mussels (shelf fish) – see a short BBC wildlife clip of them underwater here.

And yes David (and others back in SC), it is also possible to hunt them!

Do 2

Last year I posted about the most expensive toilet (do) in Norway, which was under construction at Ersfjord beach on the yttersia (outer coast) of Senja. My trip last Friday provided an opportunity to check on progress.

The outside is definitely finished, but the door was locked, so it wasn’t possible to inspect the internal functionality. Also the red ‘beacon’ light wasn’t on (presumably so as to not attract attention because it isn’t available for use).

This is it. It still looks like an abandoned snow plough:

February 2015h 051



From one very specific angle it does ‘harmonise’ with the landscape:

February 2015h 053

Having walked through knee-deep snow in the uncleared car park, one is greeted by a very ‘interesting’ door (inspired by Victor / Victoria?):

February 2015h 052

At the other end of the car park is what I assume must have been a prototype – at least the colour scheme blends in better and the door is open!

February 2015h 055

More Views From The Outside

Last Friday there was a funeral at Botnhamn, out on the north of Senja. Sarah and Susanna decided to round off their winter holiday week with a luxury cruise on the Hurtigruter to Tromsø, so I was delegated to play. By way of compensation I took the longer ‘scenic’ route home, around the yttersia (outside) of Senja. The weather wasn’t great, but it was nice to have a change of scenery. I began with a detour to the island of Husøy to deliver some sound equipment and eat my sandwiches:More_Views_From_The_Outside_01


Then it was on with the tour, first to Medfjordbotn  with views out past the steep concave side of Segla (the sail) to ‘lands end’, and then Senjahopen:

There was lots of ice, despite a week with temperatures well above freezing. Rocks begin to look like ice pillows and icicles form from every available dripping point:

Through a long and very modern looking tunnel one emerges at Ersfjord. Here there were much larger ice features  – frozen waterfalls with an iridescent  blue colour, some several hundred feet tall!

The trip wasn’t without wildlife. Cormorants sat on isolated rocks in the fjords drying themselves, and eider ducks swam together:

At Tungeneset, I had a brief pause to see the famous devil’s teeth:

Looking out over Bergsfjord (Skaland) one sees the many small islands known as Bergsøyan – once home to a thriving fishing community. The sun was setting with a pastel orange glow, and right out on the horizon was a bank of cloud (heading our way with rain). Note the light house on the final promontory at Hamn (Hellandsneset), and it’s scale compared to mountain above!




The final photo stop was the tourist observation point above Bergsbotn:


There was the possibility of skiing up in Svanelvdalen on the final leg of the drive home, but the aforementioned rain arrived just as I stopped the car to get ready, so it was avlyst (cancelled).